Title: Come the Morning

Author: BitterEloquence

Disclaimer: See if I owned Naruto, there would be a lot more shower scenes of nekkid bishies all over each other. Which is probably why it's a good thing I don't own it. ;

He comes by night. The taint of blood in the shadowed moonlight turn silver hair to black in the chill evening breeze as Iruka's door opens silently to admit the silent jounin.

No words are exchanged; none are needed.

There is the coppery tang of blood in the air, the faint taste of violence that still clings to the tall man as he carefully and oh so deliberately removes first his sandals and then the blood-splotched wrappings which are discarded to fall like dead snakes across the ground.

Iruka's apartment is dark and cloaked in shadows, only the faint hint of moonlight filtering through the windows guide the pair through the sparsely decorated flat as Iruka leads Kakashi towards the bathroom.

Crimson stains Iruka's hallway where Kakashi accidentally brushes against the wall when he sways, that masked visage oddly blank and still. Frozen even as Iruka flicks the light on to reveal the damage to the other man's body and spirit to the harsh artificial light that baths the two in it's brilliance.

There is blood on Kakashi's clothes. Though if it was the jounin's or someone else's was uncertain. Iruka knew better then to ask. Instead he slowly helped the silver-haired man out of those now sticky and ruined clothes. The discarded flak jacket was almost brown with gore where it fell to the hardwood floor only to be followed by the blood-crusted shirt and pants. The jounin is utterly unself-conscious of his nakedness as the solemn-faced chuunin begins to guide him towards the shower.

Still, nothing breaks the silence between them save for the sound of their own breath and the shower pattering down upon the tile.

Fresh wounds still seep blood sluggishly in brilliant slashes of color across Kakashi's ashen skin as the last of his and Iruka's clothing are discarded. The chuunin idly notes the small puddles trickling down Kakashi's leg from where a kunai had no doubt pinned him sometime in the fight tonight.

He wants to ask what happened. Wants to know what horror Kakashi could have seen to put that blank and utterly dead look in that dark orb. The Sharingan spun it's crimson chaos and made it impossible for Iruka to meek Kakashi's gaze as he guides the taller man under the spray much like one might guide a child.

It was coming now.

The faint catch of Kakashi's breath as Iruka brings shampoo coated hands upwards to work at the crusted dirt and dried blood clotted and matted in silver strands. Dark pupil's dilate then, the soft jerk of a sound deep in Kakashi's chest all but lost in the hiss of the shower as his lover moves that silver head under the fall to wash and massage at his scalp with aching tenderness and soft thoroughness.

The water is stained pink as it pools beneath them to swirl about the drain but neither pays it any attention.

Another catch of Kakashi's breath, a gasp for air as his throat closes up and his eyes clench tightly shut. That impossibly strong man trembles, a quiver of his body rising from his very heart and soul. He cannot scream, cannot express the pain save for the desperate shivers of his body despite the heat of the water washing over them.

Iruka's hands are tender against his flesh, a soft balm that sooths his restless spirit and brings peace to his shattered heart.

There is no warning this time, no sign that the coiled tension within Kakashi is about to strike. One minute, Iruka's hands were guiding the washcloth across the jounin's scarred chest and the next his wrists were caught in a crushingly tight grip.

An unwilling gasp from Iruka's throat and he stiffens briefly before forcing himself to relax. The hunter is back in Kakashi's eyes, that wild, feral gleam that is more animal then human as it trains hungrily upon the chuunin. Braver men then Iruka had quelled beneath that feral gaze but the chuunin merely swallowed quietly and let his hands fall limp to his side.

The sound emanating from Kakashi's throat was the chill snarl of a panther as those pale and shaking hands force Iruka around to press into the cold tile of the shower stall. Sharp teeth find the chuunin's shoulder, their grip on tanned flesh harsh enough to break the skin as Kakashi looses himself in the darkness within.

There was no 'love' in their lovemaking that night. Only sharp animal lust and the desperate need to prove life still existed; the feral and violent expression that the jounin could still feel.

That he was still alive.

Iruka knew this and thus did not complain as his lover took him roughly from behind, pale hands harsh and desperate across his skin as Kakashi fought with his own private demons.

Neither uttered a word the entire time though some things could be expressed without something as modern and sentient as words. Iruka did not need to see Kakashi's face to know he was near his limit, that he needed to prove to himself and his demons that he was still alive. That he had not lost himself completely in his job.

War was hard on everyone and the burden placed upon the jounin's shoulders was harsher then most.

But even the strongest of people would break, it was only a matter of time.

And as Kakashi screamed tearfully into the crook of Iruka's neck from behind and railed against the cruelties of the world, the dark-haired man simply held those clawing hands to his chest and paid no attention to the furrows and scratches Kakashi's nails left on his skin.

Tears were hot and bitter as they splashed down upon dark honey skin to be lost in the trickling of water from where the shower still beat down upon them.

The screams and sobs would finally abate however as the water turned cooler and then cold against their sagging bodies where they knelt shaken and still beneath the spray.

Neither mentioned what had just occurred as Iruka turned the water off, leaving them both shivering and desperate for warmth as the constant and masking sound of the shower slowly died with a gurgle and a chortle of water down the drain.

Water that had thankfully long since flowed clear and crystalline in it's false purity.

As Iruka's hands curled about Kakashi's shoulders to pull him to his feet, it was paradoxically the weaker chuunin that supported the other man as they both stumbled into Iruka's bedroom. Kakashi's wounds had not been treated yet but the all but non-existent trickle of crimson was ignored in lieu of the warmth of Iruka's bedding. Both ninja curled there shaking and quivering like children hiding from the monsters under the bed as the covers were pulled over their bodies. Still no words were exchanged as Iruka gathered Kakashi into his arms and held the other man as Kakashi burrowed into the tanned and still reddened expanse of Iruka's chest. Soft kisses were placed across the scratches there in a silent apology and the jounin's eyes fell close now, a wash of peace slowly daring to steal across his senses.

He was safe here, comforted here and oh how he wished he could stay here for all eternity.

Unfortunately, Konoha was still at war and thus there were still throats for him to slit. More lives for him to steal and snatch away with the gleaming edge of a kunai. The former Anbu walked at Death's side these days and it would only be a matter of time before his companion claimed him in it's chill embrace.

Both knew this but neither acknowledged the fact.

It was better to remain here hidden and sheltered beneath the false security of Iruka's bedding. For now there was just the two of them. Two broken men trying to piece together the shattered parts of their soul as best they could as each wrestled with their personal demons.

They were not lovers.

Lovers brought to mind softness and warmth, brought to mind dangerous words like 'love' and 'commitment'. Neither Iruka nor Kakashi were brave enough to utter those words because both knew the moment they admitted it, their brief shelter of happiness would be gone on ephemeral wings. So instead, they remained silent with only the soft beating of their hearts to remind each other they were still alive and mostly well.

Come the morning it would be over.

Come the morning, Kakashi would be long gone and Iruka's bed would be cold once again but for now they had this. For now, in the dark of the night, each found another piece of their soul and glued it haphazardly back into their hearts with weak bonds of love neither were brave enough to talk of.

Come the morning Kakashi would be back walking at Death's side and Iruka would be back in his classroom pretending nothing was wrong.

Come the morning…

Oh how they hated the morning.